Letters to the Editor
Scalia’s Dissent Disappointing
Posted Aug 1, 2004 1:29 PM CDT
I was disappointed that “Avoiding Lawrence,” June, page 16, jumped on the bandwagon of Justice Antonin Scalia’s homophobic dissent disguised as slippery-slope arguments.
You miss the legal arguments and mislead readers when you bookend the article with conservative scare tactics such as your introduction that Lawrence v. Texas could lead to “bestiality, incest, prostitution” and your ending that connects gay marriage and polygamy. How about discussing the majority opinion, which is the law, by the way?
Even more concerning than your shoddy reporting is that all you have done is play into the hands of conservatives and bigots.
Jennifer L. Kaplan
Stephanie Francis Ward’s sanitized paraphrase of Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence makes the dissent seem less extreme than it really was.
Not only did Scalia raise the specter of bestiality, incest and prostitution, but he also included masturbation in that same list of horribles. Yes, he actually expressed concern that because of Lawrence, masturbation might henceforth go unpunished.
This was not a “clever” dissent, which is how an attorney quoted by Ward describes it. It was a foolish, injudicious dissent.
Jeffrey G. Sherman
KUDOS FOR JUDGE KAYE
Chief Judge Judith Kaye deserves a special medal of recognition for improving justice in New York City, and the Journal deserves one for reporting on program (“Red Hook Experiment,” June, page 36).
I would be interested to learn whether the program includes mandatory parent-teacher contact. I’ve just introduced the concept of a parenting court to address Philadelphia’s shocking violence outbreak against and by children and young adults. The concept suggests that schools have mandatory parent-teacher contact to help parents cope with and understand their responsibilities to deter violence before it escalates. Perhaps Pennsylvania’s judiciary will consider parenting court and learn from Red Hook.
Arline Jolles Lotman
MORE ON PARTNERSHIP POINTS
I enjoyed Mark Hansen’s “Practice What You Preach,” June, page 28, advising periodic review of firm partnership agreements. I found the checklist of items to review to be right-on.
In my experience, the departure of a partner stimulates most crises in law firms. And provisions regarding notice, calculation of amounts due to or from the partner, and treatment of work in process must be well-thought-out.
One correction of note: The article states that there must be an express agreement that a partnership survives a partner’s departure to avoid automatic dissolution. That is certainly the law in states governed by the old Uniform Partnership Act. Many but not all states have adopted the Revised Uniform Partnership Act, which treats the partnership as a separate entity that survives a partner’s dissociation. It is important for the firm to know which act governs it—a not-so-easy question for firms practicing in more than one state.
The article was a great reminder that we should treat our own legal needs as well as we treat our clients’.
J. Michael Matthews
ON DIVERSITY AND BROWN
Our distinguished association president is correct when he states that Brown v. Board was a revolutionary moment in U.S. jurisprudence (“The Blessings As an undergraduate alumnus of that university, I felt a profound disappointment that the school I still love and its promising new president would become leaders of a movement favoring such a misguided policy.
As an undergraduate alumnus of that university, I felt a profound disappointment that the school I still love and its promising new president would become leaders of a movement favoring such a misguided policy.
While diversity looks on the surface to be something for everybody, it is not. White males still make up a substantial percentage of our working population and still have families to support. Diversity only promises them more roadblocks. Never mind the population statistics; they are not what matters. Our society still glorifies the rights and opportunities of the individual. Today the rights exist for all. The question is one of opportunity, and it works both ways.
Diversity as its proponents preach it is just the kind of social engineering that creates new inequalities in place of the old. It is only a short step from diversity to representation by ethnicity.
By promoting in the name of diversity views such as the often-heard one that implies that citizens can be adequately represented only by someone of their own ethnicity, we are promoting the same environment of "separate but equal" that Brown sought to overcome. Representation by ethnicity seems to say that the only thing wrong with Plessy v. Ferguson was that the "equal" was not really equal. Fix that, and all is just fine. Our American society can do better than that for everybody, and competitive pressures demand that we promote on the basis of competency, not ethnicity.
William R. Clarke